Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kargil Diwas: Remembering the Heroes

Respected Sir/Ma'am,
The following report -- released by the United News of India news agency on July 25, 2011 -- is for your kind perusal.
With regards
Kargil anniv eve: Nation readies to remember the martyrs

Bhopal, July 25 (UNI) The worst fallout of war is that it reverses the course of nature, as fathers bury sons, and the heaviest burden in this world is a young man's corpse on an old father's shoulder.
On the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas tomorrow, tributes will be paid at the District Sainik Board premises here to the indomitable courage of the nation's military officers and men who made the supreme sacrifice during the 1999 Kargil conflict.
The District Ex-Servicemen's Welfare Officer has appealed to all ESM to take part in this function in large numbers. The programme will commence at 1130 hrs sharp.
Amongst all military actions since Independence, this conflict was not only the longest but the ferociousness brought about heavy casualties. As many as 527 personnel were martyred and 1,363 severely wounded. Four Param Vir Chakras were awarded, two posthumously and nine Maha Vir Chakras were awarded, six posthumously besides 55 Vir Chakras.
Operation Safed Sagar was the codename assigned to the Indian Air Force's sorties to support the ground troops during Op Vijay -- which witnessed successful dislodging of a well-entrenched enemy that had the tactical advantage of higher ground -- while Op Talwar referred to deployment of the Indian Navy in the Arabian Sea.
Among the lasting images of the conflict is the photograph of Army Medical Corps Captain Rajshree Gupta saluting the Tricolour-draped coffin of her husband Major Vivek Gupta, 2 Raj Rif (the Second Battalion of the Rajputana Rifles Regiment).
On May 19, 1999, Mechanised Infantry officer Maj Ajay Prasad -- who was from the Madhya Pradesh capital -- fell fighting Pakistani regulars in Avantipur area of Kargil Sector. A local park was named after the martyr. Several households -- both military and non-military ones -- have appreciatively adopted the poignant ceremony of lighting candles at home in the past two years.
Citizens across India are requested to light a candle each at their residences' entrances and lay a marigold each by its side at 2000 hrs tomorrow after saying a prayer for those who did not come back. This may additionally be done at offices.
The Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement appeals to media and the people of India to join in commemorating Kargil Vijay Diwas to generate the spirit of Bharat. Chief ministers of all states and lieutenant-governors of Union territories are requested to observe the anniversary in a fitting manner.
"An anti-India strategy is an indelible part of the Pakistani mindset and generations of that country's military officers and civilians alike have been raised with it. At any point in the future, Pakistan will never stop short of exploiting any chink in the Indian armour to stage a Kargil-type offensive," a veteran told UNI.
The Kargil intrusion was "tactical lunacy but a strategic masterstroke" for Pakistan's General, later President, Pervez Musharraf as it brought the Kashmir issue centrestage with the backdrop of two South Asian nuclear neighbours.
Pakistan's Op Badr was a gamble and there was no chance of survival of small teams isolated on high hilltops spread over more than 100 km. However, India could not obviously react in the manner it did in 1965 and 1971. The entire establishment was embarrassed by the intrusion as there was intelligence failure.
Reports that Pakistan's Northern Light Infantry battalions were being moved were not given due cognisance.
Today, when India is facing "extreme" security challenges both external and internal, the commemoration of Kargil Vijay Diwas across the country will go a long way in building up national spirit.
A Shaurya Smarak (Gallantry Memorial) is under construction here. Poetess Saroj Lalwani -- whose collection 'Homecoming of the Heart: Impressions 'n' Expressions' was appreciated by no less a personage than former President APJ Abdul Kalam -- says in
"Frigid deserts, have not shattered your morale;
Or battered the patriotic fervour,
In the midst of fleeting pleasure,
Excessive hardship; faith steadfast, reign supreme...
Monumental bravery in memory be preserved;
The adulation must not give way to amnesia.
The widow, the child, old parents of the warrior dead,
Must not suffer irresponsible political indifference!

Dear Veterans,
Kargil vijay divas was celebrated at Panchkula and a large number of veterans paid homage to our brave soldiers who laid their life for the victory of Kargil. A preliminary report by Brig Kiran Krishan is forwarded for all. Congratulations for organizing a befitting function on Kargil Vijay Divas.
Gp Capt VK Gandhi VSM

Dear Sir,
I am glad to inform you that at Panchkula, the Tricity celebration organised by the IESM chapter there, headed by the tireless Brig Kiran Krishan and Col Kalia was also A Grade. Notwithstanding yesterday's rain and its ill effects at the Maj S Shankla, AC (P) memorial, the relocation of the function on the same ground was better than the original low lying area; with a gratifying full house. The conduct was flawless; surprisingly well covered by the TV and radio as well as by the print media (will see their coverage and its relevance only tomorrow). The short lectures by Brig Krishan on IESM and its yeoman, non political fight to get soldiers their due was most apt and the TV channel (Day and Night) is prominently broadcasting his remarks. Col Kalia added apt poetic flourishes to his MC role and the topping, of course, was by two poets across the age divide; a bright young charged up man and a more passionate older man (no surprises here); Sardar Anjum...once Media Adviser to Rajiv Gandhi and now poet laureate extraordinaire who spoke of Kashmiri sarzameen ki janniti khushbuaen; the need for Kashmiris to take a call in bringing peace and sukoon back to it to allow the fauj to achieve their dream... hameen ast, hameen ast, hameen ast se hum bhi chhod denge apni vardian...(return to barracks with honour)...Apt and moving; under stated but militarily correct and elegant.
Attendance included the war decorated, widows, some children and veterans across service affiliation...The only hurtful absence was that of the serving Army which I personally thought was indeed disgraceful. HQ Comd is so close that one can see its boundary from where you sit... It is almost as if the current crop do not believe they will become ESM too. A shame indeed, but that's all right. But for the sensitive few, this wretchedness has always been there. Hum to aisan hain bhaiya... we are like that only... Request that you may compliment the Brig and his team for their super show and for taking forward the IESM; its nobility and its struggle for ESM good.
Warm regards,
Raj Mehta
Maj Gen RS Mehta (Retd)

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